noun, gov·ern·ment often attributive \ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt, -və-mənt; ˈgə-bəm-ənt, -vəm-\

: the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.

: the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

Full Definition of GOVERNMENT

:  the act or process of governing; specifically :  authoritative direction or control
obsolete :  moral conduct or behavior :  discretion
a :  the office, authority, or function of governing
b obsolete :  the term during which a governing official holds office
:  the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit :  rule
a :  the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it
b :  the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which the function of governing is carried out
:  the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization: as
a :  the officials comprising the governing body of a political unit and constituting the organization as an active agency
b capitalized :  the executive branch of the United States federal government
c capitalized :  a small group of persons holding simultaneously the principal political executive offices of a nation or other political unit and being responsible for the direction and supervision of public affairs:
(1) :  such a group in a parliamentary system constituted by the cabinet or by the ministry (2) :  administration 4b
gov·ern·men·tal \ˌgə-vər(n)-ˈmen-təl\ adjective
gov·ern·men·tal·ize \-tə-ˌlīz\ transitive verb
gov·ern·men·tal·ly \-təl-ē\ adverb

Examples of GOVERNMENT

  1. The government has been slow to react to the crisis.
  2. She works for the federal government.
  3. We need to improve relations with foreign governments.
  4. He is a firm believer in democratic government.
  5. We learned about different methods of government.
  6. The country has been damaged by many years of weak government.

First Known Use of GOVERNMENT

14th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism
GOVERNMENT Defined for Kids


noun gov·ern·ment \ˈgə-vərn-mənt, -vər-mənt\

Definition of GOVERNMENT for Kids

:  control and direction of public business (as of a city or a nation) <The mayor makes decisions regarding the government of city departments.>
:  a system of control :  an established form of political rule <a democratic government>
:  the people making up a governing body <Their governments are committed to peace.>
gov·ern·men·tal \ˌgə-vərn-ˈmen-t-əl, -vər-ˈmen-təl\ adjective
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